Spend 5 days exploring the most popular highlights on this 5-day Ethiopia tour. Start with time in Lalibela, the crown of Ethiopia famous for its rock-hewn churches and scene of many religious ceremonies. Continue to tour and take an excursion to Genete Mariam, a large monolith carved into a pink-tinged outcrop near the source of the Tekaze River. Finish up the cultural tour with time in Addis Ababa to visit national museums and their open air market. Learn the country's dark history at Red Terror Martyrs Museum and see the famous hominid "Lucy" at the National Museum. See weavings and handicrafts at the Muya Abyssinia craft and experience the warm hospitality of the Ethiopian people. This introductory cultural tour of Ethiopia can easily be combined with a trek in the Simien Mountains or visits to the Bale Mountains or a tour of the tribes of Omo Valley.
Tour the impressive and still actively used rock-hewn churches of Lalibela
Visit Red Terror Martyrs Memorial Museum in Addis Ababa
Explore the National and Archeological museums of Ethiopia in Addis Ababa
Spend the day observing ancient wall paintings at Genete Mariam
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Lalibela. Check-in at your hotel upon arrival.
Lalibela, home to the most well-known rock-hewn cathedrals and several significant religious rituals, is the crown jewel of Ethiopia. The churches, which are probably Ethiopia's top attraction, are built into the ground and carved out of the rock, surrounded by trenches and courtyards. They are connected by a tangled maze of tunnels and passages. You can visit several churches, including Bete Amanuel, a 36-foot-tall monolith regarded by art historians as the finest and most meticulously crafted church in Lalibela, possibly because it was the private church of the royal family; Bete Markorios, a cave church thought to be around 1,400 years old; and Bete Giorgis, the most impressive and best-preserved of all Lalibela's churches. The Bete Giorgis, regarded as the eighth wonder of the world, was carved out of solid rock and is thought to have been constructed in the 12th or 13th century.
Go on an excursion today to Genete Mariam (34 km and 4 hours), one of the fascinating churches in Lalibela’s outlying area. Genete Mariam is a large monolith carved into a pink-tinged outcrop near the source of the Tekaze River. Supported by pillars, the church differs from the rock-hewn churches in Lalibela in that it is not hidden within a trench but carved openly on a rocky hilltop. According to tradition, Genete Mariam was excavated during the reign of Yakuno Amlak, the king who 'restored' the Solomonic line in the early 13th century. You can also complete any churches you did not complete on the previous date.
Return to Lalibela Airport in the morning for your flight to Addis Ababa. Check in to your hotel and leave with your guide to see the Red Terror Martyrs Memorial Museum. Designed as a memorial to the victims of a recent dark period in Ethiopia's history under the Derg Regime. The museum features a lot of disturbing exhibits that are not advisable for small children, including skeletal remains, photographs, and models of how victims were tortured. From here, proceed to the Muya Abyssinia craft to discover how the weavings and other handicrafts are utilized to make furniture, accessories, and other items for the home.
Day 5: Addis Ababa Tour and Departure
1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch
Spend today exploring Addis Ababa with a tour. Drive to Mount Entoto in the north to begin your tour. Next, go to the Ethnographic museum, which has a large collection of handmade items and historical relics from Ethiopia. Visit the National Museum of Ethiopia as well, which holds the renowned Lucy fossil. Before seeing the Trinity Cathedral this evening, have lunch at a nearby cafe. The biggest and most prestigious of all contemporary churches is this one. Drive through the biggest open-air market in all of Africa to round out your visit. Before being transferred back to the airport for your journey home this evening, have one last nap in your hotel room.
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